Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Good Training, Gents

I haven't been posting regularly -- things are nutty. But I did do something cool this weekend I guess.

I saw I am Legend this weekend and I really enjoyed it. It was really nice to be able to go and see a movie without having seen a single trailer, and as a result I spent the first good part of the movie trying to figure out just what the crap was going on.

--- Spoiler Alert ---

The movie had some really good scary elements in it, but the thing I liked the most about it is how they portrayed the main character dealing with being the only person on Manhattan Island (or as he thought the rest of the world). How did he do this? Routine. He had weird little routines that I can guarant-freaking-tee you would do too. I think the average movie goer would dismiss this stuff as weird and as a sign that he was going crazy, but I thought it made perfect sense. Dressing up mannequins, talking to them, renting DVDs and pretending like it's all normal, watching recorded news on the TV as he eats his breakfast. There was no normalcy in his life, so he manufactured it.

And when the Brazilian chick shows up and he freaks out because she eats his bacon that he was "saving"? You'd freak out too. And how even though he hasn't seen a soul for 3 years, he doesn't seem particularly happy to see her. Why? She fucked up his routine. He had stuff all how he liked it and she started throwing monkey wrenches in the mix. (As it turns out, big time..)

When I was in Afghanistan, North Korea, and on ship, I spent a lot of time being bored. Not 3 years by any stretch, but if I were to put you in a confined area with nothing to do for a while, you'll be bored and get stir crazy too. Try it sometime -- just sit in your room all day and do nothing. The one thing that kept us sane during the boring times was routine, and breaks in routine were incredibly irritating. Routine is an excellent remedy to boredom -- it gives you a purpose, even if it's pointless, and if gives you a reason to wake up. The main character had his projects (like, you know, curing the weird virus), but he still had his daily routine that he did. He wasn't nuts -- quite the opposite -- he was maintaining his sanity, and I found it to be way more insightful than it appeared on the surface.

I've loved the post-apocalyptic getup ever since I read "The Stand". That book really freaked me out and made me, a highschool freshman, think pretty hard about what I'd do in a similar situation (assuming the Cap'm Trips didn't get me.) One thing people will do if everyone except for a small population dies is arm themselves to the teeth, mainly to protect themselves from other people who are armed to the teeth and taking advantage of a consequence-free bonanza. Just think of it. People would be living off of 7-11 food, unless they knew how to skin a deer or met someone who could skin a deer that didn't murder you. Otherwise it'd be beef jerky and ramen. A man alone on Manhattan could live a really long time by siphoning gasoline and eating cheeze-its and canned corn. I could at least. If you were in the midwest or somewhere that isn't an island you could probably survive as an individual almost indefinitely, barring any animal attacks, disease, injuries, weather/acts of nature, and everything else that can go wrong when you have no social infrastructure. One thing I really liked in The Stand that it was really good about showcasing people dying for really stupid reasons following the breakdown of society, which would totally happen. You'd try riding a motorcycle for the first time, fall off, and die a slow agonizing death wishing you hadn't been so stupid.

I think a lot can be learned from this movie and movies like it, especially when the zombie/vampire-like-zombie virus either arrives via meteor or is created by the government. And it will. While this isn't a zombie movie per-se, a lot can be learned from it in case of post-apocalyptic-humanoid-buffoonery.

  • Don't hunt deer with an M4

    This guy was an army officer and he would have had an arsenal at his disposal, no doubt including high-power rifles with scopes. A .556 isn't gonna stop a deer, but an elephant gun with a x50 scope would. Or some other ridiculous rifle that he'd no doubt be able to find in the NYC. If I were in his shoes, a high-powered rifle would definitely be organic to my up-armored SUV.

  • Don't hunt post-apocalypse humanoid creatures with an M4

    Again, if an M4 can't stop a skinny all hopped up on khat, you know it's not gonna stop these guys. Semi-automatic shotgun all the way! As I mentioned before, you'll be armed to the teeth, and will have plenty of time on your hands for weapons training.

  • Procure more than one dog

    This movie showed how invaluable dogs are. Man's best friend for chrissakes. If I were alive in this situation, I would have a pack of dogs. Not just one. I'd be the consummate alpha dog, and my loyal hunden would protect me and the rest of the pack from whatever was out there.

  • He was prepared...pretty well... Make sure you're more than pretty prepared.

    I figured he'd be more prepared. It's like he was, but he wasn't. No panic room. No backup IR lighting. No redundant fail-safes just incase they found out where he lived, which they likely would anyway. Once they breached the house he was pretty much fucked. My house would be a giant IR lamp encrusted steel death trap -- just incase -- if the humanoids were indeed vampiric. I would tailor it to whatever their achilles heal was.

    I think any zombie apocalypto would agree with me on these points, and I haven't really put a lot of thought into it. Still, it's good that we make movies like this, because when the zombie virus comes, we can't predict the exact nature of its effects. Now we have some tools in our toolbox, just in case the zombies are suspiciously vampire-like and can only come out at night.

    With that, I leave you with this.

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    18 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm with you Paully.

    I try to live my life preparing for the the crazy stuff other people assume won't happen simply because it isn't likely.

    Wife: "Do you really need a handgun, a rifle, and an IV kit for a two-day camping trip?"

    Me: "Maybe."

    Well, most likely not, but it beats the alternative.

    I just love these people who assume they'll know what to do and how to react when the party's finally over. "Well, my adrenaline will be pumping... and I'll be, like, way resourceful."

    No you won't, Jerky, not if you've never had to be (or at least practiced it) before. These are the same people that get hit three times before they realize they're in a fight and call AAA for a flat tire.

    I'll most likely never be lucky enough to see the end of civilization validate my paranoia/preparations, but I'm not going to be caught with my pants around my ankles and my gun locked in my closet on the other side of the house.

    Fadi.

    3:03 AM  
    Anonymous Chad said...

    Got to love The Stand. I remember reading the original version as a kid (800 pages), and then like six months after I finished they came out with the "Unabridged" version (1200 pages)...which I immediately read.

    M-O-O-N, that spells the slow erosion of my youthful innocence by reading Stephen King.

    I don't know about the disaster preparedness part. How can you really be prepared when there are a billion different end-of-world scenarios? Most people seem to think that it's going to be either zombies, viruses, or aliens...well, what if its tiny spiders with wasp wings?

    I'm just going to pray, like really hard. I'm sure God will take care of me.

    12:14 PM  
    Blogger Paul said...

    fadi -- youve been a post-apocalyptite since before it was cool. it's no wonder why the jamboree will be held at your compound.

    chad -- that's a good point, but we can only prepare for so much. spiders with wasp wings would certainly be terrifying, especially if thtey could use the wings to fly. otherwise theyd just be really small spiders and not too much problem.

    4:51 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Me, I will always have my loyal twins on my person; nearly identical Ruger Old Armys .44 7 inch.

    I am able to sleep soundly throughout the night.

    Frank W.

    2:06 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Not to get in an arms debate, Frankie Dubs, but the Ruger Old Army? Seriously?

    Twelve quick shots followed by 5 minutes of reloading with zombies munching on my neck just doesn't do it for me. Not to mention the blue cloud of BP smoke to give away your pos.

    Colt Pythons or S&W 29s if you want a pair of .44s, Brother. Obviously a hi cap .308 and 12 ga combo would make a better duo - and that's assuming you can't get a hold of anything belt-fed.

    Fadi.

    6:41 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Fadi,

    You want true fire power? Why dont we simply chip in and get a 20 mike-mike Vulcan and just set it at camp. Not only will I sleep soundly, but I can masturbate in total peace and dream of Mary Jane Rottencrotch and her pretty pink panties.

    Although, the Ruger also comes in BP or bullet models. The .45 long sure looks nice, and I might divert my mortgage funds to procure 2 of these babies.

    Frank W.

    3:20 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Damn, where the fuck is Jinxy these days? Smoking Cohibas, drinking Mojitos, and doing the mambo while we're fighting zombies?

    Frank W.

    by the way, in case if you couldn't tell, I am deaf.

    3:37 PM  
    Blogger Paul said...

    if you had your own vulcan you wouldnt need to think dirty thoughts about mizz rottencrotch. a few minutes of trigger time a day on that thing would leave you utterly spent.

    and yeah, jinxy is fighting tralfamadorian zombies right now.

    4:11 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Paul,

    your comment made me laugh, and I forgot all about that asshole I had to deal with this morning.

    Thanks

    Frank W.

    5:51 AM  
    Anonymous Hoss said...

    The Stand was THE book. It was a great complement to one of my all-time favorite movies: The Omega Man.

    These two pieces of art instilled in me at an early age that you better be able to go it alone, and I've planned accordingly. Hell, I've even had to evaluate whether my wife would be a liability where the shit to go down (she tends to stress-out and panic). I haven't seen "I am Legend" yet, and I was worried about some of the nasty reviews I heard it was getting, but thought those reviewers were probably a bunch of a-holes who didn't see the movie as a helpful instructional guide on what to expect in the post-apocalyptic world. We'll be using those people as fodder when crunch-time comes.

    And, who is this "Jinxy" character?

    1:12 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm not sure that a routine of chow,rack,chow,rack,chow,rack,chow,rack,chow,rack,get in an argument with a random ass,chow,rack,chow,rack really counts as a successful routine for determining one's sanity Mr. Everson.

    And if I had to throw my hat in the ring, I am fraid that nothing short of a boom stick and a chainsaw attatched to my arm would do for me gents.

    -JoeG

    12:07 AM  
    Blogger cyberninja said...

    Finally saw this movie so felt it was safe to read your synopsis. Good stuff Paul.

    The movie totally scratched the "pre-emptive postapocalyptism" itch I've been having over the last, oh, six years. Now that the wife has watched it I can raise my head high when we open the storage closet and she has to move around boxes of .22 LR rounds, Mountain House Freeze-Dried spagetti (much better than MREs) and water purifier straws to get to the cooler, rather than humbly try to explain to her what a zombire is and justify my pack-rat craziness.

    But enough with the CGI already. I know its cheaper than hiring Iggy Pop look-alikes to wear nosferatu makeup, but it totally cheapens an otherwise great movie idea, and it denies hard-working extras jobs! Save the CGI for tentacled monstrosities, and get the Fangoria dudes on the human-like monsters, I say.

    1:18 PM  
    Blogger A Unique Alias said...

    #1. I downloaded Legend and watched it the other day. (For shamehood! AUA stolen movie from MPAA! Let's sue him legally! We should've earned $25,000,009.50 this weekend instead of the meager $25M we took!)

    #2. I didn't expect ______ to die at the end at ALL.

    #3. That dog was pretty fucking awesome, and having a few would be a good idea, but food, man! Food! You'd be eating them sooner than you think, because it would be impossible to feed them all anyway, let alone feed yourself.

    #4. Julia Louis Dreyfus in the Stand was so effing hot when she was all up in that deaf man's junk. Awesome.

    3:09 PM  
    Blogger A Unique Alias said...

    Oh yeah, and
    1. You don't need to reload a machete.
    2. Happy new year and all that.

    3:12 PM  
    Blogger cyberninja said...

    I think he only had one dog because that was the only dog he could protect from the other zombie dogs during the outbreak. The only reason his dog was alive at all was because a human locked her inside when the zombines (zombie+canines) came out to hunt.

    1:51 AM  
    Blogger Hammer said...

    So yeah, everything you said plus:

    * More Benelli's and fewer handguns.
    * Have a doomsday exit that can be sealed from the inside with a hatch to the surface that can fit you *and* others.
    * Have a second safe house already set up (minus the lab I guess) so that if the first one goes, you have a fallback position.
    * Up-armor the rides a bit, or at least fence the windows and slap some cattle-catchers on the bumpers. A SAW mount up top would be pretty useful too.
    * Admire the Benelli showroom that your house has become and then go out and get even more shotguns.
    * Have a couple boats ready to go.
    * And if you simply must walk around town with an M4, make sure it's in .50 Beowulf.

    Alright, I'm done with my ranting & holster-sniffing for the day. Except to say that the superhuman leaping (and plexiglass headbutting) abilities of the critters is ridiculous. I mean there are certain physical limits to what (formerly) human bones and joints will take. A mob of Iggy-Pop-looking, non-Olympic zompires would have worked just as well.

    3:03 AM  
    Anonymous Vance said...

    This is the best fucking post I have ever read, and I haven't even read the comments.

    I was almost going to dedicate today's blog post to the problems with I Am Legend (aside from the fact that Will Smith's neighbor didn't come back from the dead and taunt him during the night while he laid curled up in the bathtub, or that vampire she-whores didn't call out his name and beg him to have undead sex with them, like they did in the book), but I ran out of time.

    Excellent analysis. So many interesting perspectives to think about.

    Here's one of my complaints: If you're going to all of the trouble of putting an ACOG sight on your M-4, why not use it? Just once. The entire time he's looking over the iron sights.

    And that's as tricked out as you can get your main weapon? A flashlight and a rail sight? In a city of 7 million people some NRA nut doesn't have something better? Fuck. I'd be bringing the heat. I'd look like the fucking Punisher with Draganov's hanging off my wee wee.

    Great movie. Stupid ending. Read the book.

    Awesome post.

    V.

    11:57 AM  
    Blogger A Unique Alias said...

    Hey, maybe you should write a goddamn post.

    12:01 AM  

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